Aug 10
by Doug Piper

Underrated cuts of beef

I recall many years ago when I was a young apprentice taking a few BBQ blade steaks home for the weekend family bbq. Unfortunately my dad did not appreciate my gesture and demanded in future that I “bring home T-bones or Rump steak; we don’t eat those” he said. I wish he were still with us now; because I think I could change his mind.

The Oyster Blade is possibly the most under rated beef cut. Many butchers who use carcasses will cut BBQ blade steaks or Y Bone steaks from this section, these steaks consist of the chuck tender, under cut and oyster blade along with the scapular bone, popular steaks for a grill, bbq or even braised.

However, for those who bone out the blade it may not be as profitable, the chuck tender and under cut would possibly go into mince or diced beef and the scapular bone set aside for stocks or dog bones. Luckily, butchers can buy cartoned beef and oyster blades are quite economical and easy to source most of the year.

Oyster blades are such an economical and versatile beef primal. Oysters can be roasted in the piece, or seamed and rolled up with a stuffing mix inside so it looks similar to a rolled beef roast or just sliced into steaks for the grill or bbq and it makes a fantastic, tender braising steak.

The Oyster blade has that long flat sinew that runs through the middle of the muscle, the sinew can be a bit chewy when the steaks are grilled however, it breaks down to a soft gel if it is slow cooked in a braise or casserole. The meat on either side of the sinew has a unique beefy flavour and is one of the more consistently tender beef cuts derived from the carcass.

You can also cut one of the “trending” beef cuts from the oyster blade called the “Flat Iron” steak. This popular steak is found on many menu`s throughout North America and I have enjoyed lot of flat iron`s over the years from many restaurants in the US and have yet to have a tough one. It is a very forgiving piece of beef that will eat well whether it`s rare, medium or cremated!

To cut a flat iron from an oyster blade it can be a little tricky at first but after the first few you get will the hang of it. First, remove any scapular cartilage from the underside, and then remove the fat and silver skin from the top. You will notice some extra sinew on the head (thick end) of the oyster blade try and remove as much of these as possible. 

Start butterflying the oyster at the thick end using the thick sinew as a guide; follow the sinew all the way through the muscle; then repeat the process on the other side or you can lay the oyster sinew down on the block and skin it as if you are skinning a fish fillet. You will find directions on how to cut a Flat Iron steak under the “Butchery” section and “How Too” of the ABG website under Whole Blade.

Flat Iron steak is so tender, juicy and has plenty of flavour without the sinew or fat. The “Flat Iron” tends to puff up a little when cooking and can be a little tricky guessing the degree of doneness, if your open to a rare steak or (heavens forbid) prefer a well done piece of beef you will enjoy it either way.

The oyster makes a great kebab as well. Trim off the fat and external silver skin and scapular cartilage, slice it and dice it into good-sized cubes to suit a beef kebab. Marinate the beef if you like and simply add your favourite vege like capsicum, mushrooms, onion or whatever you like to the skewer for the bbq or grill and you have a mighty fine meal for those lucky customers.

There you go; economical, versatile and still rated as tender and juicy, roasted, diced, steaked or even strips for a stir-fry the Oyster Blade is one of those gems that will please anyone’s budget. 

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